Bethlehem, January 8, 2013 – Senator Lisa M. Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh/Monroe) today re-introduced a legislative package aimed at keeping children safe. 

“We must do more to protect our children,” Boscola said. “With a new legislative session underway, I will press my legislative colleagues to prioritize bills that would ensure our children have a safe environment to grow and learn.”

             Boscola’s legislative package includes the following bills: 

  • Residency restrictions for convicted sex offenders.  Creates a residency restriction for Megan’s Law sex offender registrants. Under Boscola’s proposal, sex offenders would be banned from living within 1,000 feet of a school, preschool, day care facility or public playground. The measure would also prohibit sex offenders from living within 500 feet from a school bus stop;
     
  • Increased penalties for drug delivery and forfeiture of public pensions.  Toughens penalties against school employees who possess or deliver drugs on school property. Prompted by incidents in Northampton County, Boscola’s proposal would add an additional two years to any jail sentence imposed on school administrators, teachers or employees convicted of drug possession or delivery on school property.   A companion bill would also forfeit that employee’s pension;
     
  • Forfeiture of parental rights.  Terminates parental rights if a parent is found guilty of committing certain violent offenses in their home when the victim is another child in the home or the other parent.  Boscola said children are too often permanently scarred by exposure to violent acts in their home;
     
  • Removal of statute of limitations.  Removes the statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases in both criminal and civil cases. Boscola noted, “Far too often, those who are sexually abused as minors go decades before seeking justice for the abuse they suffered as children. My bills would give sex abuse victims the recourse the rightly deserve.”
  • Chronic runaway child program.  Directs the Department of Public Welfare to develop specific assessment/counseling plans for chronic runaways as part of county shelter care, custody and detention. Boscola said that “rather than leaving these children to fend for themselves on the street, I want to give chronic runaway children a helping hand they so desperately need.”

 Boscola said she hopes the media focus on the Sandusky scandal will help put proposals aimed at helping children and strengthening child protection laws at the top of the legislative agenda this year.

 “Children are our most precious resource,” Boscola said. “We owe them our love, support and every legal protection available.”

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